JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Moms and Dads formed a long line outside Jackson's City Hall Saturday morning. They waited for the chance to line their sacks with toys for their children, who otherwise may not have presents under the tree.
Some parents are hoping to pick up gifts for one or two children. Others have much larger families. "We had one lady last week, a young lady, she had ten children 12 and under," says Devona Cherry, Toys for Tots Coordinator for the City of Jackson.
The average is five children per parent taking advantage of the Marines Toys for Tots program in Jackson this year. And thanks to generous donors, the Marines are able to continuously replenish the toy tables set up inside City Hall.
Groups of toys are separated into age groups. Parents can spend two minutes choosing gifts for their young ones. "We verify the child is your child via birth certificate, social security cards. People go to more than one agency to get toys, but all agencies are getting the toys from the Marines," Cherry says.
No angry citizens in council chambers this weekend. Instead, it's filled with bicycles. Through a drawing at the door, parents learn if they're lucky enough to take one home.
"I put in the drawing and I won, so I'm happy. That's great," says mom Lakeisha Ransom as she wheels a bike toward her car.
Another mom, Demetrica Singleton, says the help couldn't have come at a better time. "I've been out of work for the whole year actually. I heard about it on the news, came out and signed up at the Jackson Medical Mall. I feel better knowing I can put something under the tree for them," Singleton says of her four children.
The Marines work with the Salvation Army to make Toys for Tots a success for 40,000 children.
And if you donated a toy..
"Thank you all so much. You made a difference in my life," Singleton says.
"I'd like to thank you guys, really appreciate it. It's much needed, you guys are doing a great job, keep up the good work," Ransom says.
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